How do I improve my Irish for the Hibernia Interview?

How do I improve my Irish for the Hibernia Interview

As you know, a large part of your interview for Hibernia involves speaking in Irish. The English-speaking part of your interview will be 20 minutes long and the Gaeilge part will take between 10 and 15 minutes.  You will be asked about the course in the English section of the interview, whereas the Gaeilge conversation will be mainly based on you and your experiences. The examiner will likely ask you about yourself, your pastimes, why you are interested in becoming a primary school teacher and also, will ask you questions regarding the Irish language.  Here are some useful tips below to help you improve your Irish before the Hibernia interview.

Developing Fluency and Grammar

Grammar and fluency are of utmost importance. you should be aware of how to answer questions in Irish correctly. In Irish, you use the verb in the question to formulate your answer. If your examiner asks, ‘ An raibh ( verb Bí ) tú riamh sa Ghaeltacht?’ ( were you ever in the Gaeltacht ) you should say either Bhí or Ní raibh in response, as Bhí and Ní raibh are the positive and negative forms of the same verb in the question. ‘Ar thaistil tú thar lear le déanaí?’ ( have you travelled abroad recently ) Again, Thaisil or Níor thaistil are your only correct options. Many applicants will answer Sea / Ní hea, to all questions but these are only an option if An ea? is implied in the question. For example: Sin mála nua? ( this is a statement with a question implied, there is no verb stated ) Here we can answer with Sea or Ní hea. The examiner will be listening intently to how you answer questions and answering with the correct form of the verb will help you gain the most of the marks available to you.

An Modh Coinníollach ( I hear you sigh!) is the Conditional Tense in Irish. You may be asked what you might do if you were in a certain situation. Common topics that arise can be; céard a dhéanfá dá mbuafá an Crannchur Náisiúnta? (what would you do if you won the Lottery ), dá mheadh tú i do phríomhoide ( if you were the principal), dá mba tusa Norma Foley ( if you were Norma Foley).

Resources to help you improve your Irish

There is a lot you can do to prepare yourself for the Irish section of your entrance interview. There are many online resources available to you along with Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4, to get used to listening to Irish. If you would like to practice with a native speaker, and receive advice and tips before your interview, do get in touch.

The TEG Exam

Here are some alternatives to the Alternatives to Irish Requirement as listed on the Hibernia website 18 March 2021. You may be interested in An Teastas Eorpach Gaeilge  exams if you do not have any of the other qualifications listed below.

  • Diploma in Arts (Applied Irish) from University College Cork

  • Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge, level B2 from NUI Galway

  • Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge Fheidhmeach from University College Dublin

  • Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge from NUI Maynooth

  • Diploma in Irish from the University of Ulster

  • Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (TEG) Leibhéal B2 (Meánleibhéal 2)

  • Minimum grade C in the NUI matriculation exam (pre-1992)

If you are applying for the Hibernia College I can help you prepare for both the Irish and English parts of the Interview. Send me an email to and we can discuss your needs.



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